TechM Sacks Chief Diversity Officer for Discrimination
Earlier, group chairman Anand Mahindra assured that appropriate action would be taken in the matter
Mumbai: Tech Mahindra has sacked its chief diversity officer, Richa Gautam, after an internal investigation found that she had discriminated against and harassed a former employee over his sexual orientation.
Last week, Gourav Probir Pramanik, who identifies himself as gay, accused Gautam of discriminatory behaviour and harassment at workplace towards himself and others from minority sexual and religious groups. The company immediately launched an investigation and its ombudsman contacted Pramanik.
In a tweet addressed to Pramanik on Saturday evening, Tech Mahindra said following an investigation, “the concerned employee has been separated from the employment of the company with immediate effect”.
Pramanik said he stood vindicated, but had not received any communication from the company apart from one tweet.
“I have not received any email or call from the company on the results of the investigation. No apology yet,” Pramanik told ET. “I want to know what steps would Tech Mahindra take to make sure these incidents do not occur again. Firing the officer does not absolve the company of its guilt. How did it go unchecked?"
An email sent to Tech Mahindra seeking to understand whether the IT company is reworking its diversity policy did not elicit a response until press time on Sunday.
In its tweet on Saturday, the company said, “At Tech Mahindra, we believe in diversity & inclusion & condemn discrimination of any kind in the workplace.”
Pramanik had earlier uploaded screenshots of an email he wrote to Gautam after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality earlier this month. In his email, he alleged that Gautam expressed her hatred towards homosexuals and Muslims by calling them despicable names. He said Gautam mocked at him for being “effeminate”. Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra had assured that appropriate action would be taken in the matter.
Pramanik said he answered all the questions asked by the Tech Mahindra ombudsman and provided evidence for investigation. He said many people came forward to share their experience, some on record and some anonymously.
Nirmala Menon, founder, Interweave Consulting, which works in the space of inclusion at workplaces, told ET that more companies were seeking help to train employees and strengthen policies on inclusion and diversity at workplace.
“Earlier, conversations around diversity used to be binary in terms of male and female. Now it covers an entire spectrum of gender and sexual orientation. We need to change mindsets of people and build respectful workplaces,” said Menon. “If disrespectful comments go under the radar, it can lead to bullying and sexual harassment.” She has worked with Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, HSBC, Fidelity and the Tata Group in India.
NIRMALA MENON Founder, Interweave Consulting Earlier, conversations around diversity used to be binary in terms of male and female. Now it covers an entire spectrum of gender and sexual orientation